Lecturer Steven Steinlight of the Center for Immigration Studies delivered a presentation at North Shore Towers that focused on immigration issues on Wednesday, April 1.
“The problem with illegal immigration and mass immigration is a very significant problem to Long Island, and especially in Suffolk County, which actually has the second highest number of legal aliens from Central America of any county in the United States of America,” Steinlight said.
Steinlight described immigration and related policy as being “hot button issues.” He also said that this issue divides the financial and political elite from the rest of Americans.
“Immigration is the most important issue facing this century,” he said. “Far more than any public policy, the outcome of the battle over immigration is going to determine the future of the United States.”
According to Steinlight, one-third of all the people who have settled in the United States have done so since 1965, which is when the country’s immigration policy changed.
“Immigration reached an all-time historic high in this country in August of 2007 – a record number of almost 40 million foreign-born people,” said Steinlight, noting that that amounts to more than one in eight people who are foreign-born.
Also, 10.3 million immigrants have come to the country since 2000, which Steinlight said is the highest amount during an eight-year period in America’s history. He also said that more than half of them have arrived illegally.
On average, Steinlight said one-million immigrants are given legal status in the United States and almost the same amount enters illegally.
“I’m not saying immigration is a bad thing,” Steinlight said. “I’m saying we have too much of a good thing.”
Steinlight said that it is necessary for the United States to change its scale of immigration and the basis on which people are allowed into the country.
During his presentation, Steinlight also spoke specifically about the immigration of Jewish people to the United States, saying that the history of it is “completely unique to that of other groups.”
“It’s like that of no other group,” he said.
Among the points that Steinlight made were that the Jewish people immigrated because of oppression, they migrated in one direction and that they did not return to their home countries.
“Jews would have gone back to oppression and death,” Steinlight said.
In addition, Steinlight said that Jews did not arrive with duel country loyalties and that they assimilated quicker.